The Origins of Psychoanalysis and Freud’s Legacy

Adult Psychoanalytic Training (APT)
2018-19, 1st Trimester — Fridays, 3:30-5:00pm
Christopher J. Keats, MD
Donald Schimmel, PhD


Welcome to our course on The Origins of Psychoanalysis and Freud's Legacy. Our objective with this course, is to assist you in appreciating the foundations of psychoanalysis, i.e., how psychoanalysis began and how it has evolved. During this seminar we will also make reference to, and encourage, discussion of how the theory and practice of contemporary psychoanalysis has changed since Freud. The course readings are divided between a biography of Freud and his original writings. We have selected chapters for you to read from Peter Gay’s classic book, Freud: A life for Our Time. And to complement these biographical chapters, we have included many of Freud’s original writings from The Freud Reader edited by Peter Gay.

The learning objectives will help participants to begin conceptualizing clinical treatments in psychoanalytic terms and thus enhance treatment options for patients.

The texts are:

  1. A Life for Our Time, a biography of Sigmund Freud by Peter Gay, W.W. Norton & Co., Inc.; originally published in 1988.
  2. The Freud Reader edited by Peter Gay, W.W. Norton, Inc., 1989.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, associates will be able to:

  1. name the central tenets of psychoanalysis as originally conceived by Freud,
  2. discuss how Freud’s theories evolved, and, at times, were altered; for example, the evolution from Freud’s original topographic model of the mind to his structural model of the mind, and how Freud’s theories of anxiety radically changed over the course of his work
  3. describe how Freud viewed repression, narcissism, mourning and the role of sexuality and aggression, as well as his dream theory and how it compares and contrasts with contemporary theories of dreams
  4. identify some of Freud’s original cases studies, such as Anna O, and
  5. differentiate Freud’s theory of neutrality and abstinence from contemporary conceptualizations of these topics.

September 7, 2018 — Introduction

  • A Life for Our Time: Forward, preface, and Chapter 1, pp. xv-xx; 3-54.

Session objectives:

  1. Begin the study of the origins and meaning of psychoanalysis.
  2. Place Freud in his temporal and geographic surroundings.
  3. Learn about Freud’s early life and family and the possible impact of his childhood and youth on the development of psychoanalysis.

September 14, 2018

  • A Life for Our Time: Chapter 2, pp. 55-102.

Session objectives:

  1. Become familiar with Freud and Breuer’s famous cases, including Anna O., Emmy von N, Elizabeth von R.
  2. Understand the Constancy Principle.
  3. Learn about the Cathartic Method and how that evolved into Free Association.
  4. Learn about Freud’s relationship with Fliess and his famous Irma Dream.
  5. Become familiar with Freud’s “Project for a Scientific Psychology.”

September 21, 2018 — Freud on Dreams

  • A Life for Our Time: Chapter 3, pp. 103-149.

Session objectives:

  1. Become familiar with Freud’s landmark book: “The Interpretations of Dreams.”
  2. Understand the four principle dreamwork mechanisms.
  3. Become familiar with concepts such as primary and secondary process.
  4. Learn about the “Wednesday Psychological Society.”

September 28, 2018

  • The Freud Reader: On Dreams, pp. 142-172.

Session objectives:

  1. Become familiar with how Freud applied free association to the interpretation of dreams.
  2. Discuss Freud’s assertion that dreams represent “wishes as fulfilled,” and that dream fragments can always be traced back to repressed sexual wishes.
  3. Understand the concept of compromise formation in dreamwork.
  4. Understand what Freud meant when he said that dreams are the “guardians of sleep.”

October 5, 2018 — Freud on Technique Early and Later

  • The Freud Reader: Anna O., pp. 60-78.
  • The Freud Reader: Recommendations to Physicians Practicing Psycho-Analysis and On Beginning Treatment, pp. 356-378.

Session objectives:

  1. Become familiar with Josef Breuer’s account of Anna O and how it served as a precursor to the psychoanalytic method.
  2. Understand Freud’s ‘fundamental rule’ of psychoanalysis.
  3. Become familiar with Freud’s view of the role of the psychoanalyst and his recommendations for how to begin treatment, e.g. Freud’s recommendation regarding ‘suggestion,’ fees, transference and resistance.

October 12, 2018 — Freud on Sexuality

  • The Freud Reader: Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, pp. 239-270.

Session objectives:

  1. Understand the differences among positive, negative and erotic transferences.
  2. Become familiar with Freud’s ideas about how transference love should be handled. Discuss this in the context of contemporary practice and ethics.
  3. Become familiar with Freud’s landmark book, “Three Essays of the Theory of Childhood Sexuality.” For example, learn about Freud’s view of bisexuality and homosexuality, pathology, love and authority, sadism and masochism, and shame and disgust.

October 19, 2018 — Freud on Narcissism, Instincts, Repression, Mourning and the Unconscious

  • The Freud Reader: On Narcissism, pp. 545-562.
  • The Freud Reader: Instincts and Their Vicissitudes, Repression, The Unconscious, Mourning and Melancholia, pp. 562-589.

Session objectives:

  1. Understand Freud’s view of narcissism.
  2. Become familiar with Freud’s concept of instincts.
  3. Understand Freud’s view on melancholia and how it differed from mourning.
  4. Become familiar with terms such as repression, object-cathexis, anticathexis, auto-eroticism, ego-libido, object libido and ego instinct.
  5. Become familiar with Freud’s metapsychology.
  6. Understand Freud’s use of the term “repression” and “defense.”
  7. Become familiar with Freud’s phases of repression.

October 26, 2018 — More of Freud’s Classic Case Studies

  • A Life for Our Time: Chapter 6, pp. 244-292.

Session objective:

  1. Become familiar with more of Freud’s classic case studies, e.g. Dora and Little Hans.

November 2, 2018 — Freud on Culture and Society

  • A Life for Our Time: Chapter 7, pp. 306-360.

Session objective:

  1. Become familiar with how Freud applied psychoanalytic concepts to the foundations of culture and society. Special focus will be on Freud’s “Totem and Taboo” and Freud’s “Oedipal Complex.”

November 9, 2018 — Freud on Aggression

  • A Life for Our Time: Chapter 8, pp. 361-416.

Session objectives:

  1. Become familiar with how Freud’s psychological theories differ from his metapsychological theories.
  2. Review what Freud means by “drive.”
  3. Learn about Freud’s theory of “Beyond the Pleasure Principle.

November 16, 2018 — Freud and the Structural Model

  • The Freud Reader: The Ego and the Id, pp. 628-658.

Session objectives:

  1. Become familiar with Freud’s landmark study of the “Ego and the Id.
  2. Review course to date.